Ever since I accepted the position of Director of Consumer Innovations a few weeks ago, I’ve been paying a little more attention to the concept of innovation. Innovation seems to imply something more than simple “ideas”, and mean something much closer to a new way of thinking. While flying to LA two weeks ago, I was happy to see BusinessWeek take on the topic of innovation until I realized that now I’m involved involved in two fields that will quite possible suffer the Curse of the BusinessWeek Cover: Blogging (Blogs Will Change Your Business) and Innovation (The World’s Most Innovative Companies). (I don’t think their recent cover on real estate, Buyer (and Seller) Beware, counts since they seem to advocate running away from this insane industry, whereas I’m jumping in!. )
This ramble on Innovation is meant to introduce a series of innovation awards that Inman is going to announce at their Real Estate Connect 2006 in San Francisco.
Here are the categories Inman has included and the sites that I would nominate (Do I need to mention that this is a very biased list?).
Most Innovative Real Estate Blog
- Rain City Guide. First to figure out a way to bring a group of real estate professionals together to market themselves by providing unique and interesting content.
Best Business Models
- Redfin. Like it or hate it, someone was going to light a fire under the bums of real estate agents to ensure that agents are providing value to tech-savvy clients.
Most Innovative Real Estate Data Site
- Zillow wins this hand’s down just for their uber-confidence in a complete data-centric solution.
Most Innovative Technology
- It looks like Google Earth won this last year. If Google Earth won out over Google Maps, then Inman should “right” a clear “wrong” and give this award to Google Maps this year. Google Earth may have more “wow” factor, but nothing sparked more innovation in real estate in this past year than Google Maps.
Most Innovative Mortgage Companies/Services
- I’m drawing a blank. Todd, who would you nominate?
Most Innovative Brokers/Franchises/Realtor
- Again, I’m drawing a blank. Ardell, any ideas?
Most Innovative Web Service
- I’m not sure what this means… However, if I had to describe the innovation that will most change real estate over the next year, I’d keep it simple and vote RSS.
Most Innovative Media Site
- No one site should get this award. Instead it should go out to all the real estate bloggers who are creating their own diversified media through blogging (Inman included! ).
Best Rental/ New Home Online Service